I don’t need to tell you how busy, distracted and mobile-focused consumers have become. After all, there’s a good chance you’re reading this blog post on your phone between meetings, and it’s only a matter of time before a text message or app notification steals away your attention. In this fast-paced age, it’s not enough to send targeted, relevant messages to your customers. To fully engage your audience and drive action, your messages also have to reach customers at exactly the right time and through the right channel.
In the past two years, there’s been a great deal of buzz on the topic of real-time email marketing — a strategy that offers a solution to the conundrum of right message, right time, right place. As data continues to grow, so does the sophistication of real-time marketing.
Today, we’re going to discuss what real-time email marketing entails and explore how you can use your data to ensure your strategy is successful.
What is Real-Time Email Marketing?
Once upon a time, companies relied on two channels for directly marketing to their current and prospective customers: telephone and traditional mail. Marketers found success in this approach for many years. Then, the Internet arrived and everything changed.
Suddenly, customers no longer needed to wait for a monthly catalog to review products and make purchases. Since then, email has reigned as the most preferred direct marketing channel; real-time email marketing is helping make email even more powerful. Real-time email marketing uses real-time data to create highly targeted and timely content that fulfills consumers’ expectations of instant gratification and personalization.
For example, using real-time geographic and weather data, a pizza delivery chain may send this targeted offer to customers in cities where it’s raining:
“A rainy day makes for perfect cozy night in. Kick back, relax and get dinner delivered! Enjoy $5 off any large pizza with code RAINYDAY.”
How Can I Implement Real-Time Email Marketing?
The success of your real-time email marketing strategy depends on one crucial aspect: data. Here’s how you can use each of the following types of data to power your campaigns:
- Behavioral data: How your customers interact with your messages will help you determine how to best engage them with real-time messages. For example, if customers respond well to limited-time offers, you could include a countdown ticker in your emails that shows when the deal is set to expire.
- Geographic data: Knowing where your customer is located can help you make your real-time message relevant. For example, you can tailor offers around events happening in different cities. A rideshare app might offer a discount to people visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Or, as in the pizza delivery example above, you can combine geographic data with weather data and other real-time information.
- Demographic data: As email marketers, we know it’s important to tailor offers to a customer’s age, gender, income level and other demographic points. Demographics also play a role in the effectiveness of real-time offers. For example, a salon site might send two different flash sale offers: a special on pedicures to women and a coupon for a hot shave to men.
When it comes to directly engaging your customers, it’s important to consider the message, the channel and the timing. Real-time email marketing allows you to extend a solution to your audience at the right place and at the time they need it most. By using behavioral, geographic and demographic customer data, you can ensure your real-time marketing messages yield favorable results — immediately.
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